“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
20 North Orange Avenue, Suite 1207
Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: 844-4KIDLAW (4543529); 754-888-KIDS (5437)
Orlando may be home to Disney World and Universal Studios, but “Greater Orlando ranks third in the United States for the number of reports to the national human-trafficking hotline…indicated a growing awareness of the problem in a vulnerable community.” Although the Orlando region is promoted as the idyllic vacation spot for children and families, this Central Florida tourist destination is a veneer covering many failures in the Florida child welfare system. The attorneys from Justice for Kids have handled some of their most appalling cases in the Central Florida area.
- Firm Sues Florida Dept. of Children & Families, Settles Negligence Case for $14.26 Million. Child abuse attorney Howard Talenfeld filed a civil rights complaint in federal court on behalf of 19 children against nine Florida Department of Children and Families employees who were responsible for the children’s adoption and/or investigations of the abuse allegations. The children were allowed to be adopted and lived in various locations with her between Orlando, FL and Gainesville, FL, even though there had been a prior verified abuse report against the mother. The children were victims of bizarre punishments and beatings throughout their childhood. The State of Florida settled all of the Plaintiffs’ claims, including a negligence claim in Alachua County against DCF, for a total of $14.26 million. Read the case here
- Lawsuit for Negligent Investigation and Failure to Protect Children From Foreseeable Abuse And Neglect. This lawsuit was filed in Lake County, FL against DCF and private community-based child welfare providers for negligent investigation and failure to protect two young children from foreseeable abuse and neglect in the care of their mother and her paramour. Despite the high-risk factors present due to unexplained injuries to both children, the family was placed under Voluntary Protective Supervision with no court oversight. The family relocated from Osceola County to Lake County and the case was closed without court intervention despite the significant risk to the children. Four months later, the boy, who was sixteen months old, died due to abuse and was found to have numerous fractures in various stages of healing and a skull fracture. The girl, who was two years old, witnessed her brother’s murder and was also found to have several fractures and other injuries. The case resolved against DCF for sovereign immunity limits of $200,000 and for an undisclosed amount as to the private agencies.
- Case Involving Developmentally Disabled Foster Child Who Was the Victim of Child-On-Child Sexual Abuse. This lawsuit was filed in Brevard County, FL on behalf of a developmentally disabled former foster child who was the victim of child-on-child sexual abuse in foster care and a residential treatment center, and subsequently became sexually reactive. The case resolved against private community-based lead agencies and DCF for an undisclosed amount.
- Lawsuit Filed in the Middle District Of Florida Against Private Child Welfare Providers and Individual Employees on Behalf of the Estate af a Seventeen-Year-Old Foster Child Who Died While She Was on Runaway. The lawsuit brought wrongful death and survival claims under state law causes of action and civil rights violations alleging the defendants allowed the child’s mental health to deteriorate while in foster care and encouraged her to run away. The case resolved for an undisclosed amount. Smith v. Beasley, 775 F. Supp. 2d 1344 (M.D. Fla. 2011)
- Foster Child Victim of Multiple Incidents of Child-On-Child Sexual Abuse By Known Sexual Predator Living in the Same Group Home. This lawsuit was filed in Orange County, FL on behalf of a former foster child from Jacksonville against an agency that owned and operated a therapeutic group home for failure to protect the then 13-year-old from multiple incidents of child-on-child sexual abuse by a 17-year-old known sexual predator living in the same group home. The case resolved for an undisclosed amount.